(Ok not a physical shop!) (But everything else is!) VAISHALI PRAZMARI BRUSHES - THE PERFECT BRUSH - specially designed and lovingly created handmade brushes from best quality Kolinsky sable and swan feather by yours truly, for traditional miniature painting and contemporary watercolours
A P FITZPATRICK - they sell my brushes! As well as pigments from Kremer, and other brands that are not available elsewhere in the UK (including some nice oil paint suppliers). Friendly and highly knowledgeable staff.
142 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E1 5QJ
020 7790 0884
CASS ART - cheap cheap! Especially if you are a student. No special brands here though but excellent for staples. Branches all over London including Hampstead, Charing Cross and Soho. Friendly staff in High St Kensington branch
Islington branch (flagship store)
66-67 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AB
020 7354 2999
JACKSON’S/HANDOVER – ratio of quality selection/price plus knowledgeable and friendly staff; gilding materials to be found downstairs at Handover and art materials upstairs at Jackson’s
1 Farleigh Place, London N16 7SX
020 7254 0077
STUART R STEVENSON – little shop with interesting selection of quality art materials and gilding supplies. Not cheap and not expensive, seems fair (family-run business)
68 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5QA
020 7253 1693
JOHN PURCELL PAPERS – haven’t been here for years but still hear the name bandied about so worth a try
15 Rumsey Rd, London SW9 0TR
020 7737 5199
SHEPHERD’S BOOKBINDING INC FALKINER’S FINE PAPERS – great selection of handmade papers, marbled papers etc plus samples of any paper you can think of. You browse in paper sample catalogues then order. Sometimes full of edgy-looking design students but don’t be put off; the paper is really worth it. Not cheap but a lovely shopping experience in Victoria
30 Gillingham St, London SW1V 1HU
020 7233 9999
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM – go to their shop to stock up on agate eggs to use as cheap burnishers! And then go to their award-winning Vault and Minerals, Rocks and Gems section to see the real expensive things glittering in the dark.
Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5BD
020 7942 5511
CORNELISSEN – to feel like you’ve stepped back in time into an old colourman’s shop. Can order unusual pigments too plus some gilding supplies. Near the British Museum. Expensive so go when you want the experience. If you don’t have money then you can just go admire the window displays
105A Great Russell St, Fitzrovia, London WC1B
020 7636 1045
SENNELIER in Paris Quai Malaquais – to feel like you’ve stepped back even further in time, the colour mixers used to wear lab coats and were like chemists. Can order pigments and then go and admire the Seine.
3 Quai Voltaire, 75007 Paris
+33 1 42 60 72 15
GREAT ART Kingsland Road - cheap cheap cheap! With huge selection of even special brands! Because it’s so huge, easy to get lost and spend ages here and end up buying loads (but that is true of all art shops I suppose); staff nice but not necessarily that specialist
41-49 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AG
020 3409 3131
COWLING AND WILCOX – not that cheap but super convenient as practically opposite PSTA. Lots of people do last-min dashes here. Good selection of portfolios if you’re interested. Fair selection. Branches in Highbury and Camberwell as well as nearby Shoreditch one.
112 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JN
020 7033 3685
ATLANTIS ART MATERIALS – cheap and great selection of quality materials and special brands. Quite a huge store so again plan this trip in advance with a full wallet. Nice staff, sometimes a bit dazed and confused but they mean well (they are all artists).
Entrance On Bonhill Street; 16-28 Tabernacle St, London EC2A 4DD
020 7377 8855
Also! Stone/crystal/gems and New Age shops... maybe some polished stone eggs or burnishers there, ie support local businesses, maybe no need to get from museums.
The above list is very biased towards London (although Cass Art is UK wide); international friends please add your recommendations and also - many of the above shops will ship internationally.
Another thing is - when it's safe to go to flea markets again - browsing and hunting the old Portobello Road market in London is where my husband got me my 19th century ruling pen.